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We at Powerfist believe that journalists must adhere to certain principles in order to maintain professional ethics.  After researched and collaborative efforts, The committee of Concerned Journalists presented a list of nine principles  in the late 90s outlining the most important tenets of the professional journalist.  At Powerfist, we take it as our most sacred duty to adhere to these tenets in order to maintain a more free and democratic world. These guidelines can help us to ensure that one day Logic will Prevail.

Go to The Tenets of Journalism >

Go to the U.S. Constitution>

Government Shutdown…Countdown to Default…/

Shutdown at High Noon

On the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care/Health Care Act)

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In March 2010, President Obama signed comprehensive health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), into law. The law makes preventive care—including family planning and related services—more accessible and affordable for many Americans.  While some provisions of the law have already taken effect, many more provisions will be implemented in the coming years.

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/affordable-care-act/index.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

Transcript of Sen. Ted Cruz’s Filibuster

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2013/09/25/transcript-sen-ted-cruzs-filibuster-against-obamacare/

A little about Senator Ted Cruz

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz

Information on who will be affected by the furloughs.

Sign the petition to have congress members who voted for shutdown to donate their paychecks HERE>

 

Out of Order… The Freedom of Information Act is Broken

Information on the freedom of information act.

 

http://www.foia.gov/

According to the government website : The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

 

What is FOIA?

 

Enacted on July 4, 1966, and taking effect one year later, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. Before sending a request to a federal agency, you should determine which agency is likely to have the records you are seeking. Each agency’s website will contain information about the type of records that agency maintains.

 

according to wikipedia; The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute. It was originally signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his misgivings, on July 4, 1966 as 5 U.S.C. § 552 and went into effect the following year.

The Federal Government’s Freedom of Information Act should not be confused with the different and varying Freedom of Information Acts passed by the individual states. Many of those state acts may be similar but not identical to the federal act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act_(United_States)

 

Amendments to the Freedom of information act according to wikipedia ; OPEN Government Act of 2007

President Bush signed the Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007, Pub.L. 110–175, on December 31, 2007. This law, also known as the “OPEN Government Act of 2007″, amended the federal FOIA statute in several ways. According to a White House press release, it does so by:

establishing a definition of “a representative of the news media;”

directing that required attorney fees be paid from an agency’s own appropriation rather than from the Judgment Fund;

prohibiting an agency from assessing certain fees if it fails to comply with FOIA deadlines; and

establishing an Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) in the National Archives and Records Administration to review agency compliance with FOIA.

Changes include the following:

it recognizes electronic media specifically and defines “News Media” as “any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience.”

it extends the 20 day deadline by allowing for up to 10 days between the FOIA office of the agency and the component of the agency holding the records and specifically allows for clarification of requests by the FOIA office (Effective 12/31/2007).

it calls for each agency to designate a FOIA Public Liaison, “who shall assist in the resolution of any disputes” (Effective 12/31/2008).

it requires agencies to assign tracking numbers to FOIA requests that take longer than 10 days, and to provide systems determining the status of a request.

it codifies and defines annual reporting requirements for each agency’s FOIA program.

it specifically addresses data sources used to generate reports; “shall make the raw statistical data used in its reports available electronically…”

it redefines the definition of an agency “record” to include information held for an agency by a government contractor.

it establishes an Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which will offer mediation services to resolve disputes as non-exclusive alternative to litigation.

it requires agencies to make recommendations personnel matters related to FOIA such as whether FOIA performance should be used as a merit factor.

it requires agencies to specify the specific exemption for each deletion or reduction in disclosed documents.

2009 Executive Order permitting retroactive classification[edit]

On December 29, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13526, which allows the government to classify certain specific types of information relevant to national security after it has been requested.That is, a request for information that meets the criteria for availability under FOIA can still be denied if the government determines that the information should have been classified, and unavailable. It also sets a timeline for automatic declassification of old information that is not specifically identified as requiring continued secrecy.

Article from the verge sighted as reference; http://www.theverge.com/2013/9/17/4741292/broken-pentagon-fax-machine-rejecting-foia-requests-media

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is supposed to guarantee that the press gets access to public records within a timely fashion, and has been instrumental in gathering documents related to the recent National Security Agency revelations. But the existence of the Act isn’t enough to make reporters’ lives easy.

 

Until recently, the most efficient method for making FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) was via fax. It was speedy and reliable, unlike snail mail and the registration-required web portal. About two weeks ago, MuckRock reports, the fax machine stopped working and won’t be back up any time soon. “We would hope that it is back up sometime in October, but could extend into November,” a spokesman said.

 

The OSD handles records related to the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff, and does not process requests for the entire Department of Defense. Even so, it’s still managed to build up a substantial backlog of FOIA requests: more than 1,000 awaiting processing. Perhaps the broken fax machine will help.

MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT:      Freedom of Information Act

A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.

All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government.  The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.

I direct the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the FOIA to the heads of executive departments and agencies, reaffirming the commitment to accountability and transparency, and to publish such guidelines in the Federal Register. In doing so, the Attorney General should review FOIA reports produced by the agencies under Executive Order 13392 of December 14, 2005. I also direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to update guidance to the agencies to increase and improve information dissemination to the public, including through the use of new technologies, and to publish such guidance in the Federal Register.

This memorandum does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA on the freedom of information act as copied from:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/freedom-information-act

THE MEASURE I sign today, S. 1160, revises section 3 of the Administrative Procedure Act to provide guidelines for the public availability of the records of Federal departments and agencies.

 

Freedom… There’s an App for That

Link to Buycott App

Link to The Shouty App

Link to the “I’m Getting Arrested” App

Link to Occupy Design

Link to the Occupy Hub

How Occupy Wall Street Defines themselves on their website OccupyWallSt.org:

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to fight back against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

 

Remembering September 11th (Thoughts on Tragedy)

9/11 or September 11th
   The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th, or 9/11 were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Four passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists so they could be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within two hours, both towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the WTC complex, as well as major damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense), leading to a partial collapse in its western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was targeted at Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In total, almost 3,000 people died in the attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. It also was the deadliest incident for firefighters in the history of the United States.
   Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda. Although the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, initially denied any involvement, in 2004, he claimed responsibility for the attacks.[1] Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives for the attacks. The United States responded to the attacks by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaeda. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Having evaded capture for years, bin Laden was located and killed by U.S. forces in May 2011.
   The destruction of the Twin Towers and other properties caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, closing Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Many closings, evacuations, and cancellations followed the attack, either out of fear of further attacks or respect for the tragedy. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the Pentagon Memorial, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.
On November 18, 2006, Construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site.  As of September 2013, the new tower’s concrete construction is largely complete, and will officially open when the installation of podium glass and interior construction are completed in late 2013 or early 2014.
For further information please start your research here…
or to support a foundation founded in honor of the families touched by the tragedy please go here to support …http://911families.org/

Ghost in the Machine/

The Whistles Heard Round the World

Edward Snowden
   Edward Joseph “Ed” Snowden (/ˈɛdˌwərd ˈdʒoʊˌsəf ˈsnoʊˌdən/, ed-wurd-joh-suff-snoh-dunn, born June 21, 1983) is an American computer specialist and a former CIA and NSA employee who has leaked details of several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.
Based on information Snowden leaked to The Guardian in May 2013 while employed at NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the British newspaper published a series of exposés that revealed programs such as the interception of U.S. and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. Snowden’s release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in US history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.
On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors charged Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. Snowden had left the United States prior to the publication of his disclosures, first to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he received temporary asylum and now resides in an undisclosed location.
For further information please start your research here…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning ( born Bradley Manning)
   Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is a United States Army soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after releasing the largest set of restricted documents ever leaked to the public. She was sentenced to be confined for 35 years and dishonorably discharged from the service. This was reduced by 112 days for harsh treatment received during pre-trial confinement at Quantico. With credit for other pre-trial confinement and good behavior, she could be released on parole after eight years. In a statement the day after sentencing, Manning said she had felt female since childhood, asked to be known as Chelsea, and expressed a desire to undergo hormone replacement therapy.
   Assigned in 2009 as an intelligence analyst to an army unit based near Baghdad, Manning had access to databases used by the United States government to transmit classified information. She was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 after Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker, told Army Counterintelligence that Manning had confided during online chats that she had downloaded material from these databases and passed it to WikiLeaks. The material included videos of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan; 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables; and 500,000 army reports that came to be known as the Iraq War logs and Afghan War logs. Much of the material was published by WikiLeaks or its media partners between April and November 2010.
   Manning was ultimately charged with 22 offenses, including aiding the enemy, the most serious charge. She was held at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, from July 2010 to April 2011 under Prevention of Injury status – which entailed de facto solitary confinement and other restrictions that caused domestic and international concern – before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she could interact with other detainees. She pleaded guilty in February 2013 to 10 of the charges. The trial on the remaining charges began on June 3, 2013, and on July 30 she was convicted of 17 of the original charges and amended versions of four others, but was acquitted of aiding the enemy.She will serve her sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.
For further information please start your research here…
N.S.A or the National Security Agency
   The National Security Agency (NSA) is the central producer and manager of signals intelligence for the United States. Estimated to be one of the largest of U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget, the NSA operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense and reports to the Director of National Intelligence.
The NSA is primarily tasked with global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means, among which is bugging electronic systems and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.The NSA is also responsible for the protection of U.S. government communications and information systems.
   Unlike the CIA and DIA, both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, the NSA does not have a human intelligence division, although it is often portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, the NSA is entrusted with coordination and deconfliction of SIGINT components of otherwise non-SIGINT government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary. As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service, which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components.
The NSA Director, who is at least a lieutenant general or vice admiral, also serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service.
For further information on the N.S.A please start your research here…

To Coup or Not to Coup

2013 Egyptian coup d’état
   On 3 July 2013, General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi removed President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the Egyptian constitution in a bloodless coup after ongoing public protests. The move came after large-scale ongoing public protests in Egypt for and against Morsi, and a warning from the army to respond to the demands of the protesters or it would impose its own roadmap. Al-Sisi declared Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt Adly Mansour as the interim president of Egypt. Morsi was put under house arrest and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested. The announcement was followed by demonstrations and clashes between supporters and opponents of the move throughout Egypt.
The protests against Morsi on 30 June marked the one-year anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration as president. Millions of protesters across Egypt took to the streets and demanded the immediate resignation of the president. Reasons for demanding Morsi’s resignation include accusations that he was increasingly authoritarian and pushing through an Islamist agenda without regard to secular opponents or the rule of law. The demonstrations, which had been largely peaceful, turned violent when five anti-Morsi protesters were killed in separate clashes and shootings. At the same time, supporters of Morsi staged smaller rallies in Nasr City, a district of Cairo.
   On the morning of 1 July, anti-Morsi protesters ransacked the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. Protesters threw objects at windows and looted the building, making off with office equipment and documents. The Health and Population Ministry confirmed the deaths of eight people killed in clashes around the headquarters in Mokattam. On 3 July, gunmen opened fire on a pro-Morsi rally, killing 16-18 people and wounding 200 others. During the same time as the anti-government protests were ongoing, there were also other smaller pro-Morsi protests.
   The situation escalated, with Morsi refusing the military’s demands for him to leave power and the army threatening to take over if the civilian politicians did not resolve the situation. Morsi gave a defiant speech in which he reiterated his “legitimacy” as a democratically elected president and criticised the military for taking sides in the crisis. On 3 July, the Egyptian military announced the end of Mohammed Morsi’s presidency, the suspension of the constitution, and that a new presidential election will be held soon. The military appointed Judge Adly Mansour as the interim president, and charged him with forming a transitional technocratic government. Morsi was put under house arrest and senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested. The announcement was followed by demonstrations and clashes between supporters and opponents of the coup throughout Egypt. The announcement was followed by a statement in support of the military’s action by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II as well as opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei.
There were mixed international reactions to the events.Most of the Arab world was generally supportive or neutral, with the notable exception of the founding state of the Arab Spring, Tunisia. Other states either condemned or expressed concern over the coup; there was also a perceived measured response from the United States. Due to the regulations of the African Union regarding the interruption of constitutional rule by a member state, Egypt was suspended from that union. There has also been debate in the media regarding the labeling of these events. It has been variously described as a coup d’état or as a revolution.Ongoing protests in favour of Morsi were violently suppressed with the August 2013 Egyptian raids.
For further information please start your research here … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_coup_of_2013

Trayvon Martin, Barack Obama and Martial Law/

Knock Knock Jokes and the Trayvon Martin Blues

   George Michael Zimmerman (born October 5, 1983) is an American best known for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. On July 13, 2013, his trial for second-degree murder and manslaughter ended in acquittal.
   George Michael Zimmerman was born on October 5, 1983, in Manassas, Virginia, and is the son of Gladys (née Mesa) Zimmerman, who was born in Peru, and Robert Zimmerman, Sr., a retired Virginia magistrate. George was raised as a Catholic, in a family that his father has described as “multiracial”; his father is a White American of German descent and his mother is Peruvian with some black ancestry through her Afro-Peruvian maternal grandfather.Zimmerman’s voter registration record lists him as Hispanic.
Zimmerman and his wife moved to The Retreat at Twin Lakes in 2009.
   In early 2011, Zimmerman participated in a citizen forum at the Sanford City Hall, to protest the beating of a black homeless man by the son of a white Sanford police officer. During the meeting, Zimmerman claimed he witnessed “disgusting behavior” while in ride-along program with local police; however the police department said it did not know when, if ever, Zimmerman was in that program.
At the time of the Martin shooting, Zimmerman was employed as an insurance underwriter and was in his final semester at Seminole State College for an associate degree in Criminal Justice.
   On February 26, 2012, Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in The Retreat at Twin Lakes community in Sanford, Florida. Martin was a 17-year-old African American high school student. Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting occurred.The National Sheriff’s Association issued a statement that said that their program has never existed in the neighborhood where the altercation between Zimmerman and Martin transpired, and that Zimmerman ignored everything the program stands for. The Twin Lakes Neighborhood Watch program was administered by the local police department. Following an earlier call from Zimmerman, police arrived within two minutes of a gunshot during an altercation in which Zimmerman fatally shot Martin, who did not possess any weapons. Zimmerman was subsequently taken into custody, treated for head injuries, then questioned for five hours. The police chief said that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute Zimmerman’s claim of having acted in self-defense, and that under Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute, the police were prohibited by law from making an arrest. The police chief also said that Zimmerman had had a right to defend himself with lethal force. As news of the case spread, thousands of protestors across the country called for Zimmerman’s arrest and a full investigation. Six weeks after the shooting, amid widespread, intense, and in some cases misleading media coverage, Zimmerman was charged with murder by a special prosecutor appointed by Governor Rick Scott.
   Zimmerman’s trial began on June 10, 2013, in Sanford. On July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman of the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter
For further research please start here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Zimmerman

For Love and Gay Marriage

   Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex and/or gender identity. Legal recognition of same-sex marriage or the possibility to perform a same-sex marriage is sometimes referred to as marriage equality or equal marriage, particularly by supporters.
   Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in several jurisdictions within the United States. As of August 2013, thirteen states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, several counties in New Mexico, and six Native American tribal jurisdictions[n 1] have legalized the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses.
   While several jurisdictions have legalized same-sex civil marriage through court rulings, legislative action, and popular vote, six states prohibit same-sex civil marriage by statute and 29 prohibit it in their constitutions. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states. Section 3 of DOMA prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages until that provision was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, 2013, in United States v. Windsor.
   The movement to obtain marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples in the United States began in the 1970s, but became more prominent in U.S. politics in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared the state’s prohibition to be unconstitutional in Baehr v. Lewin. During the 21st century, public support for same-sex civil marriage has grown considerably, and national polls conducted since 2011 show that its legalization is supported by a majority of Americans. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to publicly declare support for the legalization of same-sex civil marriage.On November 6, 2012, Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first states to legalize same-sex civil marriage through popular vote.
   For further information, please start your research here … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States

Prism Nation

PRISM Program
   PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program known to have been operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007. PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.The Prism program collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The NSA can use these Prism requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.
   PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as “dangerous” and “criminal” activities. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA’s Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.
   Documents indicate that PRISM is “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports”, and it accounts for 91% of the NSA’s Internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority.”The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive, judicial and legislative branches. On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”
XKeyscore
   XKeyscore is a formerly secret computer system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data about foreign nationals across the world. The program is run jointly with other agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, and New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau. Its existence was revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden, an American citizen and former Booz Allen Hamilton employee.

Portrait of a Freedom Fighter: Harvey Milk

HARVEY MILK
   Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interests; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until around the age of 40, after his experiences in the counterculture of the 1960s.
   Milk moved from New York City to settle in San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay men to the Castro District. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests, and ran unsuccessfully for political office three times. His theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and Milk won a seat as a city supervisor in 1977, part of the broader social changes the city was experiencing.
   Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back. Milk’s election was made possible by and was a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics. The assassinations and the ensuing events were the result of continuing ideological conflicts in the city.
   Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community.  In 2002, Milk was called “the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States”.Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.” Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
For further research please start your research here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Milk
Or to support the foundation created in his honor please visit … http://milkfoundation.org/

Syria: One Step Over the Line/

The President’s Thin Red Line

THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR
   The Syrian civil war, also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis (Arabic: الأزمة السورية‎), is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba’ath government and those seeking to oust it. The conflict began on 15 March 2011, with popular demonstrations that grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of the wider Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring. Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba’ath Party rule, which began in 1963.
   In April 2011, the Syrian Army was deployed to quell the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of military sieges,the protests evolved into an armed rebellion. Opposition forces, mainly composed of defected soldiers and civilian volunteers, resisted without central leadership. The conflict is asymmetrical, with clashes taking place in many towns and cities across the country. Late 2011 marked growing influence of the Islamist group al-Nusra Front within the opposition forces. In 2013 Hezbollah entered the war in support of the Syrian army.The Syrian government is further upheld by military support from Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia transfer weapons to the rebels. By July 2013, the Syrian government controls approximately 30–40 percent of the country’s territory and 60 percent of the Syrian population. In late 2012 UN report described the conflict as “overtly sectarian in nature” between Alawite shabiha militias and other Shia groups fighting largely against Sunni-dominated rebel groups, though both opposition and government forces denied that.
In June 2013, the death toll surpassed 100,000 according to the United Nations.
In addition, tens of thousands of protesters have been imprisoned and there are reports of widespread torture and terror in state prisons. International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations. UN inspections and probes in Syria have determined that the Syrian government’s abuses are highest in frequency and largest in scale.Chemical weapons have been used in Syria on more than one occasion, triggering strong international reactions.
for further explanation of the Syrian Civil War please start your research here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_civil_war

The Arab/Israeli Conflict in Palestine

   The Arab–Israeli conflict (Arabic: الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي‎ Al-Sira’a Al’Arabi A’Israili; Hebrew: הסכסוך הישראלי-ערבי‎ Ha’Sikhsukh Ha’Yisraeli-Aravi) refers to the political tension and military conflicts between the Arab League and Israel and between Arabs and Israelis. The roots of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict lie in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and presently belonging to the Palestinian Arabs,[7] and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century during the 1920 Nebi Musa riots, the Jaffa riots, 1929 Palestine riots and the Arab revolt exploding into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and expanding to all Arab League countries with the creation of the modern State of Israel in May 1948.
   The conflict, which started as a political and nationalist conflict over competing territorial ambitions following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, has shifted over the years from the large scale regional Arab–Israeli conflict to a more local Israeli–Palestinian conflict, as large-scale hostilities largely ended with the cease fire, following the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Consequently, peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, and Israel and Jordan in 1994. The Oslo Accords led to the creation of the Palestinian National Authority in 1993, though a final peace agreement has yet to be reached. A cease-fire currently stands between Israel and Syria, as well as more recently with Lebanon (since 2006). The conflict between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza, which resulted in the 2009 cease fire (although fighting has continued since then), though not directly related with the Arab League is usually also included as part of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and hence the Arab–Israeli conflict. Despite the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and the generally existing cease fire, the Arab world and Israel generally remain at odds with each other over specific territory.
For further explanation please start your search here…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_conflict

 

The Young and the Restless North Korea

U.S. Relations With North Korea

transcribed from : http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2792.htm

 

BUREAU OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS

Fact Sheet

December 17, 2012

More information about North Korea is available on the North Korea Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-NORTH KOREA RELATIONS

The United States and Korea’s Joseon Dynasty established diplomatic relations under the 1882 Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, and the first U.S. diplomatic envoy arrived in Korea in 1883. U.S.-Korea relations continued until 1905, when Japan assumed direction over Korean foreign affairs. In 1910, Japan began a 35-year period of colonial rule over Korea. Following Japan’s surrender in 1945, at the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was divided at the 38th parallel into two occupation zones, with the United States in the South and the Soviet Union in the North. Initial hopes for a unified, independent Korea were not realized, and in 1948 two separate nations were established — the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the South, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the North.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea. Led by the United States, a United Nations coalition of 16 countries undertook the defense of South Korea. Following China’s entry into the war on behalf of North Korea later that year, a stalemate ensued for the final two years of the conflict until an armistice was concluded on July 27, 1953. A peace treaty has never been signed. North and South Korea have had a difficult and, at times, bitter relationship since the Korean War. The two countries are separated by a demilitarized zone. During the postwar period, both Korean governments have repeatedly affirmed their desire to reunify the Korean Peninsula, but until 1971 the two governments had no direct, official communications or other contact. North Korea has been ruled by successive generations of Kim Il Sung’s family, and its political and economic structure is centrally controlled.

The United States supports the peaceful reunification of Korea on terms acceptable to the Korean people and recognizes that the future of the Korean Peninsula is primarily a matter for them to decide. The United States believes that a constructive and serious dialogue between North and South Korea is necessary to resolve outstanding problems, including the North’s attempts to develop a nuclear program and human rights abuses, and to encourage the North’s integration with the rest of the international community.

In 1994, the United States and North Korea reached agreement on a roadmap for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In 2003, the United States proposed multilateral talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Several rounds ofSix-Party Talks have been held since then. Although North Korea has at times said it will take steps toward denuclearization, some of its subsequent actions, such as missile launches, have conflicted with those assertions. The United States has called on North Korea to take concrete, irreversible denuclearization steps toward fulfillment of the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, comply with international law including United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, cease provocative behaviors, and take steps to improve relations with its neighbors.

U.S. Assistance to North Korea

Most forms of U.S. economic assistance, other than purely humanitarian assistance, are prohibited. North Korea has at times experienced periods of famine, and the United States has provided food aid. The United States has also assisted U.S. NGOs in providing aid to fight the outbreak of infectious diseases and to improve the supply of electricity at provincial hospitals in North Korea.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States imposed a near total economic embargo on North Korea in 1950 when North Korea attacked the South. Over the following years, some U.S. sanctions were eased, but others were imposed. U.S. economic interaction with North Korea remains minimal.

North Korea’s Membership in International Organizations

North Korea and the United States belong to some of the same international organizations, including the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum.

Bilateral Representation

The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. The Swedish Embassy in North Korea is the U.S. protecting power and provides limited consular services to U.S. citizens. The U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy is Glyn Davies.

North Korea has no embassy in Washington, DC, but it is represented in the United States through its mission to the United Nations.

More information about North Korea is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kn.html

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Korea

for more on North Korea’s “recent” rocket program and capabilities look here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unha

 

Citizens De-United

 

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions. The nonprofit group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain-Feingold Act or “BCRA”). In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that portions of BCRA §203 violated the First Amendment.

The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a July 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The lower court held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Supreme Court reversed, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from spending on “electioneering communications”.

The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003). The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.

*For more relevant information please visit, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_united *

 

 The Trayvon Martin Blues

The fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman took place on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. Martin was an unarmed 17-year-old African American. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old multi-racial Hispanic American,[Note 1] was the appointed neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community where Martin was temporarily staying and where the shooting took place.

While in his vehicle on a personal errand, Zimmerman noticed Martin walking inside the community. Zimmerman called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin’s behavior as suspicious, stating that Martin was “cutting in-between houses…walking very leisurely for the [rainy] weather” and “looking at all the houses”. According to a police report, “there is no indication that Trayvon Martin was involved in any criminal activity at the time of the encounter”. While still on the phone with the police dispatcher, Zimmerman left his vehicle. After the phone call concluded, there was a violent encounter between Martin and Zimmerman. The encounter ended with Zimmerman fatally shooting Martin once in the chest at close range.

When police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman told them that Martin had attacked him and that he had shot Martin in self-defense.Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and from two vertical lacerations on the back of his head. EMTs treated Zimmerman at the scene, after which he was taken to the Sanford Police Department. Zimmerman was detained and questioned for approximately five hours. He was then released without being charged; at the time, police said they found no evidence to contradict Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense.

The circumstances of Martin’s death, the initial decision not to charge Zimmerman, and questions about Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law received national and international attention. Allegations of racist motivation for both the shooting and police conduct, along with intense media reporting that was sometimes inaccurate, contributed to public demands for Zimmerman’s arrest. On March 22, 2012, a Special Prosecutor was appointed to take over the investigation.

On April 11, 2012, the Special Prosecutor filed a charge of murder in the second degree against Zimmerman, who then turned himself in and was placed in custody. According to the prosecution’s Affidavit of Probable Cause, “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.” A prosecution investigator who co-signed the affidavit later testified at a hearing that he did not know whether it was Zimmerman or Martin who started the confrontation. Zimmerman pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently out on a $1 million bond while he awaits trial; he has requested a hearing under the “stand your ground” law provisions.

In October 2012, Judge Debra S. Nelson set Zimmerman’s trial date for June 10, 2013. She also ruled that any “stand your ground” hearing must be held by April 26, 2013

*For more information on the Trayvon Martin case, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travon_martin

 

The First in the Series of Three

 The first presidential debate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_debates,_2012

also see our media section.

 

How the Grover Stole Christmas

Grover Glenn Norquist (born October 19, 1956) is a conservative libertarian, and founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform. He is known as the promoter of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge”, which prior to the November 2012 election was signed by 95% of all Republican Members of Congress and all but one of the candidates running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, to oppose increases in marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses, as well as net reductions or eliminations of deductions and credits without a matching reduced tax rate. He is a member of the Republican Party.

About the Taxpayer Protection pledge

Prior to the November 2012 election, 238 of 242 House Republicans and 41 out of 47 Senate Republicans had signed ATR’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge”, in which the pledger promises to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”[24][25]

The November 6, 2012 elections resulted in a decline in the number of Taxpayer Protection Pledge signatories in both the upper and lower houses of the 113th Congress: from 41 to 39 in the Senate, and from 238 to “fewer than … 218″ in the House of Representatives.[26] According to journalist Alex Seitz-Wald, losses in the election by Norquist supporters and the “fiscal cliff” have emboldened and made more vocal critics of Norquist.[27]

In November 2011, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blamed Norquist’s influence for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s lack of progress, claiming that Congressional Republicans “are being led like puppets by Grover Norquist. They’re giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader.” Since Norquist’s pledge binds signatories to opposing deficit reduction agreements that include any element of increased tax revenue, some Republican deficit hawks now retired from office have stated that Norquist has become an obstacle to deficit reduction. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY), co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist’s position as “no taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell.

*For more information on either Grover Norquist or the pledge please visit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist

 

Release The Biden

Joseph Robinette “Joe” Biden, Jr. (pronunciation: /ˈdʒoʊsɨf rɒbɨˈnɛt ˈbaɪdən/; born November 20, 1942) is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, jointly elected with President Barack Obama. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was a United States Senator from Delaware from January 3, 1973 until his resignation on January 15, 2009, following his election to the Vice Presidency. In 2012, Biden was elected to a second term alongside Obama.

Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and lived there for ten years before moving to Delaware. He became an attorney in 1969, and was elected to the New Castle County council in 1970. Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972 and became the sixth-youngest senator in U.S. history. He was re-elected to the Senate six times, was the fourth most senior senator at the time of his resignation, and is the 15th-longest serving Senator in history. Biden was a long-time member and former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. His strong advocacy helped bring about U.S. military assistance and intervention during the Bosnian War. He opposed the Gulf War in 1991. He voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, but later proposed resolutions to alter U.S. strategy there. He has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dealing with issues related to drug policy, crime prevention, and civil liberties, and led creation of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and Violence Against Women Act. He chaired the Judiciary Committee during the contentious U.S. Supreme Court nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Biden unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008, both times dropping out early in the race. Barack Obama selected Biden to be the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Biden is the first Roman Catholic and the first Delawarean to become Vice President of the United States. As Vice President, Biden has been heavily involved in Obama’s decision-making process and held the oversight role for infrastructure spending from the Obama stimulus package aimed at counteracting the late-2000s recession. His ability to negotiate with Congressional Republicans played a key role in bringing about the bipartisan deals that resulted in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Re-authorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 that resolved a taxation deadlock and the Budget Control Act of 2011 that resolved the United States debt ceiling crisis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden.

 

Throwing Rocks at God

Oscar Grant was fatally shot by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Oscar Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was prostrate and allegedly resisting arrest Officer Mehserle stood and, according to witnesses, said “Get back, I’m gonna tase him.” Then Mehserle drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back; Mehserle appeared stunned, put his hands to his head and exclaimed “Oh my God!” During his court testimony, Mehserle said that Grant then exclaimed, “You shot me!” Grant turned out to be unarmed; he was pronounced dead the next morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

The events were captured on multiple digital video and cell phone cameras. The footage was disseminated to media outlets and to various websites, where it was watched millions of times. The following days saw both peaceful and violent protests.

The shooting has been variously labeled an involuntary manslaughter and a summary execution. On January 13, Alameda County prosecutors charged Mehserle with murder for the shooting. He resigned his position and pleaded not guilty. The trial began on June 10, 2010. Michael Rains, Mehserle’s criminal defense attorney, argued that Mehserle mistakenly shot Grant with his pistol, intending to use his Taser when he saw Grant reaching for his waistband. Pretrial filings argue that his client did not commit first-degree murder and asked a Los Angeles judge to instruct the jury to limit its deliberations to either second-degree murder or acquittal.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART on behalf of Grant’s family.

On July 8, 2010, the jury returned its verdict: Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Initial protests against the ruling were peacefully organized; looting, arson, destruction of property, and small riots broke out after dark. Nearly 80 people were eventually arrested.

On Friday, July 9, 2010, the U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights case against Mehserle; the federal government can prosecute him independently for the same act under the separate sovereigns exception to double jeopardy. The Department of Justice will be working with the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco and the FBI.

On November 5, 2010 Mehserle was sentenced to two years, minus time served. He served his time in the Los Angeles County Jail, occupying a private cell away from other prisoners. He was released on June 13, 2011 and is now on parole.

*For more information on this subject and to donate to a worthwhile cause please visit*

http://www.oscargrantfoundation.com/

https://www.change.org/petitions/the-house-of-representatives-we-want-congress-to-defer-all-congressional-paychecks-until-all-furloughed-federal-employees-have-been-compensated#

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003415625311 Janet

    Was in Orlando yesterday which is a suubrb of Sanford (snark) so feel as if I should take complete responsibility for the arrest. Second-degree sounded about right. As per Rev. Al, I was never much of a fan, even after he lost all of the weight. But I’m not convinced that the arrest would have happened if Al and Jesse and the gang had not jumped on and hyped this. Its been a month and a half since the shooting and Zimmerman is just now getting arrested. If no one makes a scene, does he still get arrested. I’m not convinced that he does. But the people that complain about Al and Jesse running in front of any camera when it’s got the red light on, ignore the myriad of righties that do the same thing. If you wanted to really impact race relations, some white spokesmen should have stood up and be in the place where Rev. Al and Jesse were screaming saying that this shooting and non-arrest were not ok. Where were all the white preachers? White politicians? Crickets.

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